Homelessness Week highlights need for united fight

One in 66 Tasmanians – or about 8000 people – benefited from a homelessness service in the year 2016-2017.

These figures are expected to grow, with the latest data showing homelessness has worsened since the 2016 census was taken. 

This revealed that on any given night in Tasmania more than 1600 people experience homelessness, with most cases hidden. 

Monday will mark the first day of Homelessness Week 2018 and Shelter Tas executive officer Pattie Chugg said the latest statistics around homelessness in Tasmania were “alarming”. 

“Homelessness is far more common than people think, with only 8 per cent of the homeless population sleeping rough,” she said. 

“We need to consider the other ‘invisible’ 92 per cent of people who are in insecure, temporary, overcrowded and unsafe places.

“This can mean people sleeping in their car, couch-surfing or staying in motels or other short-term accommodation.”

Homelessness Week is a national event that aims to raise awareness and identify solutions.

Ms Chugg said this year’s theme –  Ending Homelessness Together – was about encouraging a united front to help tackle the issue and to ensure everyone had a place to call home. 

With more than 74,000 Tasmanians living below the poverty line and with housing and rental stress on the rise, Ms Chugg said more and more people were finding it impossible to obtain secure and affordable accommodation.

“These figures are alarming and they really highlight the importance of addressing homelessness in Tasmania specifically,” she said.

“Homelessness Week highlights the work that homelessness services do every day.

“This is not just another week on the calendar, homelessness impacts on people’s lives and this week has the potential to make a real difference to vulnerable Tasmanians as well as improve community awareness.”

For more information on Homelessness Week, including planned events visit  sheltertas.org.au.